Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Times: Gozo Bishop ‘could have been happier’ with Synod

Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 09:46

Gozo Bishop Mario Grech would have been a happier man had the Synod of bishops retained the original text of a document on the Church’s relationship with gay people.

“I am happy with the document but I could have been happier with the outcome,” he said when contacted in Rome, where he attended the Synod.

The bishops discussed various issues, including the Church’s relationship with gay couples and whether divorced Catholics who remarried should be administered Holy Communion.

They took a vote on the individual paragraphs that made up the final document but, while all were approved with a two-thirds majority, the two paragraphs dealing with remarried divorcees and homosexuality only obtained “an absolute majority”.

Mgr Grech declined to indicate how he voted, insisting the ballot was secret, but he said that while the final document was a step forward, he wished there were were more steps forward.

The two-paragraph section of the final document dealing with homosexuals was titled "Pastoral attention towards persons with homosexual orientations". The previous, three-paragraph version had been called "Welcoming homosexuals."

The earlier version spoke of "accepting and valuing their (homosexuals') sexual orientations" and giving gays "a welcoming home". The final version eliminated those phrases and most of the other language that church progressives and gay rights groups had hailed as a breakthrough.

The new version used more vague, general language, repeating earlier church statements that gays "should be welcomed with respect and sensitivity" and that discrimination against gays "is to be avoided".

More in Times of Malta and the e-paper on timesofmalta.com Premium.

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